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Challenges and delays in establishing electric vehicle charging stations along Serbian highways

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The number of electric vehicles in Serbia is almost negligible, totaling around 2,700, representing just a tenth of a percent of registered four-wheelers. It’s possible that there are more with foreign plates, merely passing through our corridors en route to another destination. The government has decided to equip major roadways, especially highways, with an adequate number of electric chargers. They’ve been seeking a financier for this endeavor since last fall.

The public call was announced on October 10th last year, with the initial deadline for interested parties set for November 24th. However, it was postponed to early January. Due to the non-working day on the second day of Christmas, the deadline was moved to January 17th. Somewhere in the interim, January 22nd was chosen as the end of the competition. In mid-January, in response to Forbes, Putevi Srbije stated that “due to the illness of a commission member responsible for evaluating received offers, the bid opening has been postponed to January 31st.”

Aside from the statement by the Minister of Transport, Goran Vesić, on TV Prva that four companies had submitted bids, the public has heard nothing else about this project. In response to further inquiries, Putevi Srbije confirmed that there is still no information on the selection of the bidder and that everything will be announced on their website, as usual. Green stations are no longer mentioned in news sections, nor in reports on public procurement openings, nor in the section where the call was published.

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According to unofficial information obtained by Forbes, it was expected that companies such as Čardž & Go, Orion eMobility, OMR Group, and Spektra from Novi Sad would apply. The first is partially owned by the company Koefik (owned by Nenad Kovač, also known as Neša Roming, who is the real owner of 50% of Čardž & Go). The second has ties to Orion Telecom (owned by Slobodan Đinović, with Mile Đinović listed as the actual owner of eMobility). The third group includes, among others, British Motors and its subsidiary companies such as Globos Osiguranje, Krosroads Adria, and LED pej. British Motors is owned by Ostoja Mijailović, the president of KK Partizan. Spektra is owned by Živko Zlokolica.

As things stand, equally unofficially, a consortium of six major domestic companies, including Milenijum Tim and OMR Group, could win the contract. The announcement of the winner is expected in the coming weeks.

Putevi Srbije is seeking a financier willing to invest, according to their estimate, 786 million dinars in setting up a total of 16 green stations. These are rest areas along highways with at least five and at most ten chargers for electric vehicles.

In addition to the chargers, the financier can open accompanying facilities in the complex—stores, restaurants, and other services—but with a maximum gross floor area of ​​100 square meters.

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“The subject of the public call is the selection of the Financier for the realization of the project ‘Green Stations,’ which involves financing the development of the Conceptual Project and financing the construction of accompanying facilities for the needs of users, at least five electric chargers with a minimum power of 150 kW per charger, with at least two connectors for simultaneous charging, restaurants, services, stores, and other facilities for service provision, with a gross developed building area of up to 100 square meters, on state roads of IA category in the Republic of Serbia,” states the public call.

In addition to investing in the construction of accompanying facilities and installing electric chargers, the financier will also have to pay an annual fee of 1.2 million dinars.

“The amount of the maximum annual fee for the use of parts of the road land and other land used by the manager of the state road, which the fee payer uses for access and construction of the facility, is 1,233,816 dinars annually. This fee will be paid in 12 equal monthly installments by the 15th of the month for the previous month, in accordance with the concluded contract,” the call specifies.

For clarification, we asked Putevi Srbije whether this amount is for all 16 rest areas or if the fee must be paid for each one individually.

“The financier is obliged to pay the fee for the use of parts of the road land and other land used by the manager of the state road annually, for each green station individually,” replied Putevi Srbije.

The investor, in this case, Putevi Srbije, will enable the financier to use and exploit the built facilities for a period of 15 years, with the possibility of extending the term, for a fee that the financier is obliged to pay to the investor.

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